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Don’t Worry, History is Not Out of Control.


History Completely Under Control 

Text: Revelation 5:1-7.2

Revelation chapter four and five is a glimpse into heaven, right into the very throne-room of God. It’s not sometime away out in the future, it is something that is happening in this age, right now, in glory. We’re going to look at chapter 5, in three lessons, and as we progress, we will learn something about the relationship between our praise, here on earth, and the praise of the heavenly hosts, around the throne of God.  In this passage:-

1 There’s a Scroll.

John must have been overwhelmed with the scene that was being unfolded before his eyes. He has already described to the best of his human ability, the interior of the throne room of God, but now he notices another important detail.

  • There’s an unopened scroll. And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. It’s a book, and it is in the right hand of God, and it is sealed up, with seven seals. It cannot be opened. The scroll had seven seals. But thankfully, we now know what was in the scroll. It was the scroll of destiny, – it was God’s plan, from eternity to eternity, God’s plan for mankind as history progresses to its planned conclusion.We know that because from chapter six, as we shall see, the contents of this scroll will be opened out and we are able to see all of history unfolded before our eyes.
  • There’s a problem. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.No-one can open the book – no one is in control of their own destiny!  
  • There’s a major problem. Because this scroll contains God’s predetermined plan for mankind, for the universe, there would be serious consequences if this scroll remains under wraps. ?  

Can you see the utter hopelessness of mankind? When John realised the true hopelessness of man, he openly wept! 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.   I think we should all weep, when we realise our sinfulness, and our lostness, and we should weep over the sinfulness and the lostness of our friends and neighbours. BUT – 

2. There’s a Lion! V5  

Just when John thinks everything is hopeless something happens, – an elder steps forward, and speaks, speaking on behalf of the God who holds the plans of time and eternity, and speaking directly to John in his distress. Let’s see

  • Who is this elder? Throughout these chapters we see that there is a kind of hierarchy in heaven, the triune God is seated on his throne, then there are the four Living Creatures, Rev. 4:6-7, representative of all the created order, worshipping God, then, comes the 24 elders, who surround the throne and worship God. It is one of their number who leaves the throne and comes to John, and brings him a message – a message directly from the throne of God. And the message is…
  • Behold the Lion! It is Jesus, the Lion of Judah, and he has overcome, he has prevailed and he, and he alone is able to take the plan, the rolled up scroll, and break the seals, and enact the sovereign will of God.

Here’s the good news. In the midst of our human hopelessness, there is hope, and it is not found in any one of us, it is only found in Jesus! There is no-one else who can come to our aid.  The elder points the weeping, sorrowful John to Christ, our Saviour. It is Jesus who dries away all our tears. Psalm 30:5  

3. There’s a Lamb V6  

There’s a strange switch here. The Lion is also a lamb! The mighty king is also the meek lamb who was sacrificed for us.  Notice where the Lamb is, – he is in the midst of the throne, he and the father are one! READ John 17:11, So, Let’s think about the Lamb…

  • Slain. Of course, Jesus is not a literal lion, or even a literal lamb. These are symbols, demonstrating his work, as the king, as our saviour, and everyone in Israel, including John will know this. Lambs die, and in Israel, they die for the sins of others. This was a well established principle in Ancient Israel. The Passover Lamb was sacrificed every year as a reminder of how God had set the enslaved nation free from Egypt. A lamb had been slain, and the blood sprinkled upon the door posts and lintels of the people of God. The covenant promise had been given,  Exodus 12:13So everyone knew what John the Baptist meant, when he saw Jesus coming down to Jordan, READ John 1:29 So, this Lamb has been slain, and in his death he is the Lion, the conqueror, who in his death defeated death and sin and the devil.  Hebrews 10:11-12   But wait, – this Lamb is…
  • Standing. Now there is a universal truth that everyone knows. Dead things don’t stand.  So this Lamb, who was dead, is alive. He is risen from the dead, and he lives.  And he has, in symbolic terms, seven horns, horns symbolic of power and victory, and this Lamb is…
  • Seeing.  He has seven eyes, again the number is symbolic, his vision, like his victory, is perfect. Christ’s vision is perfect, in a sense ours could never be.  He has sent the Holy Spirit into the world, who indwells us and who knows us through and through, and who sees right into the depths of our individual hearts and minds. The proof that Christ dwells in our hearts through the agency of the Holy Spirit is in Ephesians 3:16-17.  So nothing escapes him. 

Now, let’s see what happened next. The lamb takes the scroll from the hands of the One who is on the throne. He does what no one else can do, he takes the reins of history, and destiny, and he owns them. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.  Jesus is in charge of history, in charge of my destiny! You, we can trust him. Is it any wonder we worship him, he is the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb who was slain, who died for my sins and rose again from the dead, and who ever lives, interceding for me, knowing my very deepest needs, and pleading my cause right in the very midst of the throne of the Father. Like tie people in verse 8, we bow before the Lamb, and we cry “He is worthy to be praised.”

And next week, we shall see, that even our praise, here in our local church, rises to glory, and is presented before God, as a sweet sacrifice of praise.

© Bob McEvoy June 2022

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